fb-pixel Skip to main content

MMA fighter dies after competing in Plymouth bout

An image from Facebook promoted a fight featuring MMA fighter Rondel Clark.@rondelclarkMMA

A mixed martial arts fighter who was hospitalized over the weekend after competing in an event in Plymouth died Tuesday morning, and an investigation is underway, officials said.

The fighter, Rondel Clark, 26, of Sutton was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the Plymouth District Attorney’s office said.

Clark fought Saturday on a card sponsored by the Cage Titans promotion company at Plymouth Memorial Hall. He lost by technical knockout in the third round and was carried from the ring on a stretcher.

He taken to a hospital in Plymouth after a post-fight examination and was later transferred to Boston, officials said.

Advertisement



“The office of the State Medical Examiner has accepted jurisdiction and will determine the cause and manner of Clark’s death,” officials said. The Plymouth District Attorney’s office, local and state police, and the state athletic commission are investigating Clark’s death.

The Cage Titans web site listed Clark as a 170-pound fighter who went into Saturday’s bout with a record of 1-0. His opponent, Ryan Dunn, had a record of 0-2.

A Cage Titans official could not be reached for comment. The event, billed as Cage Titans XXXV, featured 20 fights.

Clark fought on the undercard, the preliminary bouts before the main event. His fight was the third of the evening and began around 7 p.m., said Andy Kurzontkowski, one of the commentators for the three-round fight, which was streamed online.

Richie Santiago , another MMA commentator, said he spoke briefly with Clark before the bout.

“I don’t know how nervous he was, it was just a quick conversation. To me, he seemed fine,” Santiago said. “He seemed like he was ready to go.”

The fight was not a mismatch, he said.

“It wasn’t like you were putting Rondel against someone out of his league, that’s for sure,” he said.

Advertisement



Clark came out swinging, he said. In Clark’s only other fight, he defeated his opponent within one minute, and he seemed to be aiming for the same outcome, Santiago said.

“Rondel came out and he looked really good,” he said. “He went and beat up his opponent in the first round.”

Kurzontkowski agreed.

“He came out in the first throwing everything he could as hard as he could,” he said. “He came out on fire.”

Perhaps as a result, Clark slowed noticeably in the next two rounds, although it didn’t appear to raise concern. Santiago and Kurzontkowski attributed Clark’s fatigue to an “adrenaline dump.”

“Sometimes when fighters do that, on any level, if they go hard, there’s an adrenaline dump and they get fatigued,” said Kurzontkowski.

By the final round, Dunn was raining blows down on Clark, but the strikes weren’t powerful. Dunn was exhausted as well.

“He finished him with very light strikes,” Santiago said.

The referee stopped the fight because Clark had stopped moving, Santiago said. The crowd fell quiet after seeing that Clark was hurt, Kurzontkowski said.

“It’s tragic,” said Hilary Rose , a 24-year-old who attended the fight and trains at an MMA gym in Bellingham. “You go to a promotion, you want to watch the fights. Nobody wants this to happen. You never expect something like that. And then it’s a reality. Everyone in the MMA community is a little shocked by it.”

Kurzontkowski called Clark a “true warrior who fought until the very end.”

Advertisement



“It’s a horrible tragedy,” he said. “It’s one of the most unfortunate things I’ve ever seen.”

The Cage Titans promotion company describes the undercard athletes in promotional materials as “hungry, up and coming, amateur fighters just getting their starts in the sport as well as established amateurs looking to position themselves higher in the rankings with hopes of earning an amateur title shot.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.